Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete
by Game Arts is one of those ‘essential RPGs’ that folks say every console RPG fan should play. A certified classic. Great plot, great characters, great gameplay—you know, the works. So naturally, as a huge fan of console RPGs, I thought it was high time that I finally got around to actually playing it. I’d slept on a classic for too long. So, I managed to get my hands on a 2-Disc edition of the game (it’s actually not difficult to find, and still very cheap), popped it in the PlayStation, and prepared myself for an epic and memorable adventure.
The story goes like this: a fifteen-year-old boy named Alex who dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, the legendary Dragonmaster, Dyne. At the suggestion of his friend Ramus, they, along with his childhood friend Luna and a cat-bat-ferret-thing with wings named Nall, venture into Dragon’s Cave in search of a precious gem. Inside the cave they find the white dragon Quark, who informs Alex of his destiny to become the new Dragonmaster. He tells our hero to seek out his brothers—the Red, Blue, and Black dragons—pass their trials, and recieve their blessing. Leaving their home, the three get a bit more adventure than they bargained for, and little do they know, the ride is just about to get wilder.
Did that seem blurb-y enough? Without giving too much of the plot away, that’s pretty much it. Of course, the plot eventually gets more complex, but not too much more. The plot ain’t the freshest pair of drawers in the hamper. Pretty conventional by fantasy RPG standards. But it’s at least entertaining.
The voice acting is bad, though. It starts out decent enough, but gets worse as the game progresses. To me, there were far too many instances where the voice overs didn’t quite correspond with the characters’ emotions. I hear this is mainly due to the fact that the actors are rarely shown scenes they’re supposed to be acting out, and not entirely the voice actors’ fault, but it doesn’t change the fact that it sucked.
Even worse was the dialog. I read somewhere that they hired a novelist as the game’s scenario writer. I bet his books suck. Seriously. The dialog just got downright corny sometimes. You can tell that the writer(s) was trying to make it lighthearted and funny, but it was just corny. There were a few instances in the game where I had to laugh at some of the character exchanges. Like, “Who the hell talks like this?!” I got the biggest laugh out of one particular line spat by the game’s main villain: “...my ‘coming out’ party can begin. Send in the clowns!” I’m dead serious, man. It didn’t help that he had kind of a lisp thing going on, too.
Gameplay wise, the game is pretty good. I thoroughly enjoyed the combat system. It was your standard turn-base kind of action, blended with a touch of strategy. Characters can move about the battlefield, putting them in or out of range of an enemy’s attack range. The combat system also gives players the option to set up Tactics (preset attack patterns) or allow the game’s “A.I.” to fight for them, which is a cool feature, but you’re not going to use it too much. The reason being: enemies don’t fuck around in Lunar. Blindly inputing ‘Attack’ commands will get you wiped out with the quickness. The combat does a good job of demanding your attention, giving it somewhat of a challenge. Think Shin Megami Tensei-lite.
Players enter battle by approaching enemies on screen. Or in Lunar’s case, players enter battle by getting hunted down by enemies on screen. I told you, the baddies in this game don’t fuck around. They move fast
. Dawn of the Dead style. Which can get really annoying, especially when you’re trying to avoid
conflicts. It’s a minor problem, though.
However, a bigger problem lies within the game’s interface. I absolutely hated the menu, man. Sometimes equipping new gear and using items just felt like a real chore. Equipping new armor meant going to the character’s personal inventory, unequipping the item, placing it in the main inventory (which cannot be accessed during battle, by the way), going back two steps to enter the main inventory, place the new armor into the character’s personal inven—oop, I forgot to take something out of the character’s ITEM inventory because it was full of recovery items. So I go back two steps, place one of the items in the main inventory so that the character can hold the new piece of gear. Go back to the main inventory, hand him the armor, go back to the character, equip the new armor, and then go and retrieve the item I had to give up to make space.
Why can’t I just press a button and equip/swap equipment? Blaaargh! Moving along.
Graphically, the game is dated, in a charming sort of way I guess. I mean, I’ve seen worse, but I’ve seen much better. But hey, this is a remake of a Sega CD RPG, after all. I guess I shouldn’t have expected something like *COUGH*Grandia*COUGH* or *COUGH*Alundra*COUGH, HACK.* Don’t get me wrong, though. I like the way the game looks. But then, I’m kind of a big retro gamer, so shit like that doesn’t really bother me too much. If you’re real big on aesthetics, though, you might get a little irritated.
Despite the game’s flaws... I enjoyed myself (I spent 30 hours of my life on this thing, I better have). Hell, a lot of my gripes with the game come from the fact that it didn’t live up to my astronomically high expectations after hearing people tell me how essential the game was to my collection, and how unbelievably great it was. I wouldn’t call it stellar, by any means. But I wouldn’t call it bad, either. It’s... it’s just good
. It’s just a real good game.
- CASTLE read